Soyuz 9

Soyuz 9 (Russian: Союз 9, Union 9) was a 1970 Soviet manned space flight. The two-man crew of Andrian Nikolayev and Vitali Sevastyanov broke the five-year-old space endurance record held by Gemini 7, with their nearly 18-day flight. The mission paved the way for the Salyut space station missions, investigating the effects of long-term weightlessness on crew, and evaluating the work that the cosmonauts could do in orbit, individually and as a team. It was also the last flight of the first-generation Soyuz 7K-OK spacecraft, as well as the first manned space launch to be conducted at night. To date, Soyuz 9 marks the longest manned flight by a solo spacecraft.

Soyuz 9
OperatorSoviet space program
COSPAR ID1970-041A
SATCAT no.4407
Mission duration17 days, 16 hours, 58 minutes, 55 seconds
Orbits completed288
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeSoyuz 7K-OK
ManufacturerExperimental Design Bureau OKB-1
Launch mass6,590 kilograms (14,530 lb)
Crew size2
MembersAndrian Nikolayev
Vitaly Sevastyanov
CallsignСокол (Sokol – "Falcon")
Start of mission
Launch date1 June 1970, 19:00:00 (1970-06-01UTC19Z) UTC
Launch siteBaikonur 31/6[1]
End of mission
Landing date19 June 1970, 11:58:55 (1970-06-19UTC11:58:56Z) UTC
Landing site50°N 72°E
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude176 kilometres (109 mi)
Apogee altitude227 kilometres (141 mi)
Inclination51.6 degrees
Period88.5 minutes
Soyuz programme
(Manned missions)


Position[2] Cosmonaut
Commander Andrian Nikolayev
Second and last spaceflight
Flight Engineer Vitaly Sevastyanov
First spaceflight

Backup crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Anatoly Filipchenko
Flight Engineer Georgy Grechko

Reserve crew

Position Cosmonaut
Commander Vasily Lazarev
Flight Engineer Valeri Yazdovsky

Mission highlights

Commander Andriyan Nikolayev and flight engineer Vitaly Sevastyanov spent 18 days in space conducting various physiological and biomedical experiments on themselves, but also investigating the social implications of prolonged spaceflight. The cosmonauts spent time in two-way TV links with their families, watched matches in the 1970 FIFA World Cup, played chess (including this chess game with the crew as white; it was the first chess game played across space) with ground control, and voted in a Soviet election. The mission set a new space endurance record and marked a shift in emphasis away from spacefarers merely being able to exist in space for the duration of a long mission (such as the Apollo flights to the moon) to being able to live in space.

The mission took an unexpected physical toll on the cosmonauts; in order to conserve attitude control gas during the lengthy stay in orbit, Soyuz 9 was placed in a spin-stabilization mode that made Nikolayev and Sevastyanov dizzy and space sick. When landing finally came, they required help exiting the descent module and were virtually unable to walk for a few days. Nonetheless, this experience proved the importance of providing crews with exercise equipment during missions.

Mission parameters

  • Mass: 6590 kg (14,530 lb)
  • Perigee: 176 km (109 mi)
  • Apogee: 227 km (141 mi)
  • Inclination: 51.6°
  • Period: 88.5 min

See also


  1. "Baikonur LC31". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
  2. Mir Hardware Heritage – 1.7.3 (wikisource)
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